During the first week of January 2021, Avey Tare (Animal Collective) began making regular drives to his friend Adam McDaniel’s Drop of Sun Studios in Asheville, NC to give guts and flesh and color to the skeletal demos he’d made at home the year prior. The plot for 7s, Avey’s fourth solo album, then, was set: trusting, intuitive, exploratory collaboration among friends, after a Winter without it. These songs are like overstuffed jelly jars, cracking so that the sweetness oozes out into unexpected shapes. Still, the sweetness—that is, Avey’s compulsory hooks—remains at the center, the joy inside these Rorschach blots. If Animal Collective has forever been defined by its charming inscrutability, Avey surrenders to a new intimacy and candor with 7s.